Legislature(2015 - 2016)

2016-01-19 Senate Journal

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2016-01-19                     Senate Journal                      Page 1601
SB 135                                                                                                                        
SENATE BILL NO. 135 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                                               
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                                                           
          "An Act requiring the electronic submission of a tax                                                                  
          return or report with the Department of Revenue;                                                                      
          relating to fisheries business tax and fishery resource                                                               
          landing tax; relating to refunds to local governments;                                                                
          and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
was read the first time and referred to the Resources and Finance                                                               
The following fiscal information was published today:                                                                           
 Fiscal Note No. 1, Department of Revenue                                                                                       
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 15:                                                                                 
Dear President Meyer:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18 of the Alaska                                                                    
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to a tax on fisheries                                                           
business and fishery resource landing.                                                                                          
The bill would increase the tax rates of the fisheries business tax (AS                                                         
43.75.015) and the fishery resource landing tax (AS 43.77.010). The                                                             
tax rates covered by these statutes vary from one percent to five                                                               
percent, depending on the type of fishery. The bill would increase                                                              
those tax rates by one percent across the board, with the exception of                                                          
some developing fisheries that are exempt from the increase.                                                                    
Currently, the revenue generated by these taxes is split evenly between                                                         
the state and the municipalities where the fisheries are located. The bill                                                      
would exempt this one percent increase from the revenue sharing                                                                 
arrangement, thereby insuring that the entire increase is applied to the                                                        
general fund.                                                                                                                   
This legislation is expected to generate additional revenue of                                                                  
approximately $18,000,000 annually. Currently the costs to the state to                                                         
regulate commercial fisheries are greater than the amount of general                                                            
fund revenue generated by these taxes. Therefore, this proposed                                                                 

2016-01-19                     Senate Journal                      Page 1602
increase is reasonable. The fishing industry could continue to operate                                                          
in this state, but, under this bill, would bear a fairer share of industry                                                      
costs to the state.                                                                                                             
To increase administrative efficiency for the Department of Revenue                                                             
and state taxpayers, the bill would require the electronic submission of                                                        
tax returns with an exemption available upon request.                                                                           
The bill is an integral component of the New Sustainable Alaska Plan                                                            
to provide a balanced and sustainable budget for Alaska's long-term                                                             
fiscal stability.                                                                                                               
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Bill Walker